Book Review: Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew

I have read a lot of good autism books over the years but every now and then, I read a book that really hits it out of the park. Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm is definitely one of the better autism books I’ve read. Even now, more than six years after my daughter was diagnosed with autism, the information that Notbohm presents is useful. If I were the parent of a newly diagnosed child, the information would be priceless.

The description on the back of the book reads:

“Brimming with insight, compassion, and spirited humor, Ellen Notbohm’s timeless book describes ten characteristics that help illuminate – not define – children with autism. This updated edition delves into expanded thought and deeper discussion of communication issues, social processing skills, and the critical role adult perspectives play in guiding the child with autism to a meaningful, self-sufficient, productive life. An all-new section explores ten more essential, thought-provoking “things” to share with young people on the spectrum as they cross the threshold of adulthood, and a thoughtful appendix offers more than 70 questions suitable for group discussion of self-reflection.”

The first sentence sums up the book nicely, the book helps illuminate, not define, children with autism. I think so many practitioners and other autism professionals try to define a child with autism but as parents, we know that our children don’t fit into any neat little box.

At this time in my parenting journey, I was very thankful to have read chapter three: Distinguish between won’t (I choose not to) and can’t (I am not able to.) Since my kids are older I often expect that they should be able to do something and when they don’t, it can frustrate me.

However, reading this chapter has caused me to step back and really assess the situation – is their inability to complete a specific task truly a won’t or is it a can’t? More often than not it is a can’t, for one reason or another, and so I’m forced to re-evaluate the request.

This scenario is actually the basis for one of the questions that Notbohm lists in the updated appendix, “In light of reading this chapter, describe specific instances in which your perception of your child or student’s behavior has shifted from ‘won’t’ to ‘can’t’?”

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew is the perfect book for parents, teachers or other professionals that work with children on the autism spectrum. With the holidays coming up, it would also make a good gift for your child’s teacher.

You can order the book online from Future Horizons and receive a 15% discount by using code MHO at checkout. If you use this code, you will also receive free shipping on your order.

Photo: [bastian.]/Flickr

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.